'Set the Table' August. 2015 Vol.1 August 03 2015

'Set the Table' April. 2015 Vol.2 April 27 2015

'Set the Table' April. 2015 Vol.1 April 14 2015

'Set the Table' March. 2015 Vol.2 March 30 2015

Welcome Spring with Sainsbury's Monochrome Collections March 20 2015

Sainsbury’s has just launched their latest dining range ‘Monochrome’, which is set to be the biggest trend in ceramics this spring season.
The range takes design to the next level by using a reactive decal, which results in a raised and textured finish on the surface of the products.
The collection is understated and refined, yet upon closer inspection has a really unique design feature with the contemporary pattern and tactile surface.
With hints of Scandinavian and Aztec influence, Monochrome is ideal for spring as the overall appearance is light and uplifting, with the Aztec pattern being reminiscent of the warm summer months.
The neutral grey and white colour scheme allows the collection to complement most other dining sets, which is perfect as Monochrome has been designed as an accessory range so it’s intended to sit alongside other pieces.
Monochrome especially sits really well alongside the Kitchen Whites range which has also been recently launched by Sainsbury’s retailers, with the two tone grey and white pieces enhancing the colours used for Monochrome.
The collection also has a great mix and match characteristic, with the choice of three diverse designs on the mugs and nibble bowls; stripes, zigzag, and Aztec.  
As well as boasting a really interest design feature, Monochrome also demonstrates a really good body strength and is finished with a glaze that is extremely resilient to knife marking; so it’s a durable and practical as well. 
The other items available in this design are the serving platter and large jug, which also display a textured decal creating the impression that the pieces have been hand decorated, giving a crafted appearance to the collection.
This is a really contemporary range which combines interesting designs with simple shapes to create a collection that is modern and fresh.
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 20/03/2015

'Set the Table' March. 2015 Vol.1 March 17 2015

Radial February 27 2015

The latest collection launched in Debenhams stores is the John Rocha design range called Radial. This collection is a complete white dinnerware set which has a textured design element, making the pieces unique from any other white table top products on the market.

Radial refrains from using colour or pattern as a design feature and instead makes an impression with a textured surface in the ceramic that results in raised ridges on the outer edges.

The ribbed surface of the exterior is created from a special mould for the clay, but the irregularity of these lines creates the illusion that it’s a handmade product, and by choosing to use a soft matte glaze on the stoneware body the textured effect is intensified even more.

The matte surface of the exterior of the products is contrasted with a glossy inner, which adds depth to the pieces as these different glazes create two diverse sides to each individual product.

The collection is available as a complete dinnerware set, covering all the essential aspects in your home. These basic items are then complemented with some accessory pieces to really complete the set; so you can buy Radial as a teapot, cup and saucer, creamer, and serve bowl as well.

Additional and more subtle design elements of the range work together with the quirky pattern to make this a really contemporary collection. The unusual shapes of the mug and the creamer being designed without a handle all work towards creating a range that is modern, up-to-date, and perfect for any season.

Not only does the range appeal in appearance; the pieces are also of really high quality and functionality, with official dishwasher test results showing that even after two years’ worth of use the range demonstrates no deterioration. This proven longevity is a great selling feature as it’s made to withstand a lot of use; perfect for a busy household.

Based on other tests Radial also has a high thermal shock rating, meaning the range is good at coping with larger temperature changes.

This John Rocha range is all about texture, and doesn’t need colour or pattern to make it exciting. This neutrality also makes the range diverse, as the pieces are able to sit alongside any other colour or pattern in your home.

By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 27/02/2015

'Set the Table' Feb. 2015 Vol.4 February 24 2015

Bringing back the 80's February 19 2015

Give your dinner set a new lease of life with the dining accessory range just launched by John Lewis.
The bright colours of this range have been applied to the existing House shapes, which is one of the core dining ranges sold by John Lewis retailers. The original House collection has been in stores for many years and has undergone several extensions to the main pieces, with the Studio line being the latest addition.
The design is built up of four bold colours which are all interlinked; this allows all pieces in the range to be mixed and matched. The banding design on the bowls, side plates, and mugs allows the pieces to sit together and form a continuous pattern through the overlapping colour scheme.
The theme of House Studio is reminiscent of the 1980s era, and while the pieces create a retro look this is still massively on trend and current. The block print decals applied to the bowls, plates, mugs, and large serving bowl create a unique feature as the linear pattern and banding means no two pieces cannot sit together. 
The large serving bowl is also an interesting selling point in itself, as because of the size it can be used for different purposes, potentially becoming a statement piece such as a fruit bowl so it can be a feature in your home.  
The range is not a complete dinner set; instead the collection has been designed to revamp your existing pieces and accessorise your dining table. It’s a design which is daring but still maintains longevity from the fact it’s applied to the House shapes, as this is a long-standing collection in John Lewis.
Results from official tests show that the House Studio items have a thermal shock rating of 210°C, meaning that the porcelain body is extremely strong; withstanding high extremes of temperature and rapid changes from hot to cold.
The pieces are also vitrified which hugely reduces the water absorption levels of the body, so it’s beneficial for when the product is microwaved as the handles on the mugs won’t become as hot. From other official tests the range has also demonstrated a high edge chip rating of five times the minimum standard.
So inject your home with some colour this season with the House Studio collection; perfect for the daring and eccentric who want to give their table top a revamp.
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 19/02/2015

'Set the Table' Feb. 2015 Vol.3 February 17 2015

Spring Vibes for your table February 12 2015

In anticipation for the change of season, get your table top ready by injecting some bright colours and on-trend floral designs with the Spring Meadow dining collection from Marks & Spencer.
The range is one of the longest standing ceramic collections in M&S stores, and even after retailing for over two years still remains an excellent seller.
Vibrant colours create a fresh spring feeling, bringing warmth to your dining table ready for the summer months. The lively floral design uses a full colour pallet to create the decal pattern, which not only makes it a pretty collection, but also one that is able to complement existing colours in your home. The diversity of colour in every piece means you can pick them out to set off your current style, so even with an extensive use of colour Spring Meadow will look good with anything.
Yet even with lots of vibrancy the range is still very elegant, with the super fine china body possessing a lot of strength but still being delicate in appearance and touch, and extremely light weight. Overall Spring Meadow is an extremely well-made range but is still affordable.
There are also other, more subtle design features of the collection which add to the colourful aesthetics of the design. The purple key line used on the rim of the plates and nibble bowl really make the colours stand out, and creates a more refined appearance.
The Spring Meadow range is available in the basic dining items with additional extras to extend the look; including a creamer, large jug, dip bowl, serving platter and cup and saucer.
The main dining items of the range which are made from fine china are vitrified, meaning they are fired to their optimum temperature so that porosity is eliminated. This prevents the products from absorbing water, so the body is at the peak of strength.
The accessory pieces of the range have a different body as they are made from stoneware, with the same floral pattern being hand painted on rather than applied by a decal, adding character to the products.
These additional items allow you to extend the floral theme further so you can make this your statement design and use these feature pieces at more formal occasions as well as for every day.
So shake off the dark winter nights and let M&S liven up your dining table this spring.
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 12/02/2015

'Set the Table' Feb. 2015 Vol.2 February 10 2015